NTT DoCoMo phone: you're hungry, but don't eat yet

At Ceatec, Japan's largest carrier shows technology to expand the role of phones in everyday life

"Your hunger level is 60%. Refrain from snacking even if you are hungry."

So reads the display on the Toshiba Regza phone on display at NTT DoCoMo's booth at the Ceatec electronics show this week in Japan. And it has a point. It's been a few hours since breakfast and I could definitely go for a quick ramen, but probably should wait until lunch.

A Bluetooth-enabled breathalyzer has analyzed my breath for acetone, which the body produces when body fat is consumed. If acetone levels are low, the theory is that the body is running on sugar and carbohydrates, and hasn't started burning fat yet.

Ceatec attendees line up to breath a few times into the breathalyzer devices, and few seconds later a nearby phone lights up with their numbers. The readings seem rough at best -- one healthy-looking man came up 150 percent hungry and several others all came up exactly 36 percent. The product has no firm launch date.

The research is part of DoCoMo's ongoing push to expand the role of mobile phones in everyday life. The country's largest carrier, it runs nearly half the handsets in Japan.

Also on display were a set of swappable cases that add various sensors to a phone, including a radiation detector and a bad breath analyzer.

The carrier also touted a high-speed charging service for its smartphones, that is under development. External battery cases made for NEC Medias smartphones could be fully charged in just 10 minutes, then provided another 50 percent to the phone's original battery.

The batteries are based on lithium-titanate technology, which is quick-charging but can have lower capacity than the traditional lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones.

DoCoMo hopes to eventually build external batteries that work with a wide range of phones, then set up quick-charging stations at convenience stores and other locations.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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